Tuesday, February 26, 2013

EPA scrubs database of air pollution experiment on children?

By Steve Milloy

This first appeared here.  I would like to thank Steve for allowing me to publish his work. 

EPA Stalin-izes an experiment exposing children to diesel exhaust. 

Amid last year’s Fakegate scandal involving Peter Gleick and the Heartland Institute, JunkScience.com discovered that the EPA scrubbed its grants database of grants the agency had given Gleick.

Now amid the ongoing human testing scandal, the EPA seems to have again scrubbed its database of a study involving the intentional exposure to children to diesel exhaust. Here’s the story.

Medscape reported on Feb. 23 that:

Exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is linked to epigenetic changes associated with childhood asthma and allergy as well as higher rates of asthma diagnosis in the highly polluted city of Fresno, California, investigators report.

Recalling that the EPA had given the University of Southern California money in the mid-2000s to study whether diesel exhaust would “induce reproducible gene expression” in children, I searched for the USC grant in the EPA extramural research grants database. What I found was jaw dropping.

Although the a document summarizing the grant remains in the database, it appears to has been heavily edited and the description of the diesel exposures to children has apparently been deleted. Fortunately, a copy of the original document was saved.

Click here for the report as extracted from the EPA database on December 14, 2012.

Click here for the report as extracted today. [EPA database link to report]

If you compare the the beginnings and ends of the two documents, you’ll see that they are identical, including, for example, capitalization and spacing errors.
So why would EPA have made this deletion?

First, exposing children to diesel exhaust to see if harm can be induced obviously flies in the face of all rules governing the protection of human subjects. This research is essentially illegal.

Next, since Dec. 14, 2012, I tried contacting the principal investigator at USC, Frank Gilliland, and others at USC about this study and have received NO response to multiple inquiries. An NPR-affiliated journalist has also reportedly tried to contact USC about these experiments with no luck.

I encourage readers to try to prove me wrong on this. The home page for searching the EPA extramural grants data base is here.

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